Beware the Clintons
Michelle Alexander powerfully explains why black people should be wary of Bill and Hillary Clinton [“Black Lives Shattered,” Feb. 29]. Here are a few more reasons:
• Both Clintons still support the death penalty, which disproportionately affects people of color.
• Hundreds, if not thousands, of Haitians fled their homeland during the Clinton administration. They were either sent back to Haiti or inhumanely detained at Guantánamo. (Cuban refugees during the same period entered the United States easily.)
• United Nations troops already in Rwanda might have prevented or lessened the horrendous genocide by shutting down hate-radio stations and confiscating major caches of machetes. The Clinton administration stymied such an intervention; 800,000 black people died.
• When opposition arose to the nomination of distinguished lawyer Lani Guinier to an important Justice Department post, President Clinton failed to support her.
• A reporter asked Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders whether masturbation should be discussed in sex-education classes. She said yes. Bill Clinton fired her.
Thank you so much for this article. I have followed Michelle Alexander’s work for years, and I consider The New Jim Crow to be essential reading for all Americans. In short, she is one of my true heroes, and I don’t believe it is possible to overstate her contribution to our national discussion on race. Again, thank you.
That said, I have two minor beefs with her article, and they are as follows: 1) She gives short shrift to Bernie Sanders’s career-long battle for social justice, including (but not limited to) fighting for desegregation and marching with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.; and 2) She makes no reference to the shameless race-baiting campaign the Clintons ran against then-Senator Barack Obama in 2008, including disseminating their little photo of Obama in Kenya (wearing the traditional garb of a Somali elder) and refusing to state categorically that Obama is a Christian (as then-Senator Clinton did on 60 Minutes). The Clintons in 2008 apparently concluded that ghettoizing drug references and feeding into a little Islamophobic “birtherism” might help them win, which was shameless and morally reprehensible. I feel strongly that Alexander should have included both of these significant points. James O’Donnell III